Born in Norway in 1969, went to school on Oslo’s less fashionable east side. Moved with the rest of the family to Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in 1978. Went to an international
school, learned English, picked up a taste for spicy food and poppadoms that persists to
this day (Thank Venu!), and left after getting my GCSEs. Discovered computers through my pakistani friend Fuad Ali Butt and his brothers Yousef and Farouk (who played in the hard-rock band H2SO4). Got my own dinky ZX81 and later a ZX-Spectrum to program and play games on. Ended up writing my own games instead of waterskiing. I got hooked early.
Went to high-school (videregående) in Oslo (1986-1988) at Berg Videregående Skole – did the International Baccalaureate (IB) program. Had great fun there. Wrote a Z80 machine-code/assembly
simulator for my Extended Essay.
Did a year in the Royal Norwegian Air-Force, stationed at Værnes and then at Bardufoss AFB way north of the arctic circle. Very cold and icy in the winter time. Very sunny and bright in the summer. Gorgeous aurorae.
Studied in Manchester at UMIST, got my Bachelor (2.1, not a first, mainly due to Wolf-3D distracting me. Applied to five masters programmes in the states, and was accepted into one: Stanford! When I applied I was all gung-ho for Virtual Reality and really wanted to work on that. Of course, it turned out to have fizzled out by the time I got there.
Spent 1993 to 1995 at Stanford, working with Prof. Terry Winograd (who had ditched artificial intelligence in favor of user interfaces and design. Learned an immense amount, had great fun and made some very good friends. Worked at Interval Research one
summer, working on … cool stuff.
Got some work experience on my Fulbright/J1 visa after graduating Stanford at vivid studios (not the porn studio).
Sharing a the same name as vivid-the-porn-studio meant we got some interesting mail. Not to mention the job applications
(with photographs). We were creating the web back in 1996 from nothing but raw ideas and bits. Modems were still mostly 14.4Kbps,
screens were 256 colors, and you had to buy “Internet-in-a-box” in order for Windows to work with a browser. And it was uphill both ways!
I worked on a Yahoo-clone for Bell-Atlantic, wrote a multi-lingual/internationalized travel gateway with support for Japanese and Chinese text, developed an internal time-sheet application in a beta release of the Java Servlets API. Developed intranets for the Gap, worked on a new power-management web-site for PG&E that never got beyond a prototype. Worked with brilliant, creative, funny, passionate people in an open and engaging workplace. We still talk about re-creating the place, but I fear it is trapped in the 90s.
Left San Francisco in early December 1997 after my visa expired (after the good-bye party to end all good-bye parties!).
Started work at SuperOffice in february 1998, and was the User-Experience guy and
a main programmer on SuperOffice CRM 5, which has won a couple of awards for being easy to use after it was released in 2001.
Still working there, now thinking about the next version, and digging it.
SOooo… What does XT1 have to do with anything?
Well, Star Wars was re-released while I was working at vivid. Guess who stood in line to get tickets for the office? Guess who was twelve people too far back in line? Guess who ended up waiting outside for the last people to show up while the imperial cruiser was rolling in…
Anyway, we were playing the “What Star Wars character would you be?” with the various people around the office. Zachary was Yoda, Kevin-John was Chewbacca I think, and I was R2-D2, the bleeping, burbling robot/swiss-army-knife that ran around helping everyone…
I kinda like that.
Since I couldn’t be R2-D2, I tried to come up with a cooler handle.
Xtian was already taken by someone else, so I shortened it to robotic brevity: X-T1, or just XT1.
X as in XMas (Christmas).
T as in Tee
1 as in One (Wan)
XT1 = Chris-Tee-Wan
Ok, so it’s not the coolest handle on the planet, but you know how hard it is to get a three letter domain registered these days.